Are Dog Boots Really Necessary During Winter?
Dog owners may have wondered whether their dog needs boots to protect their paws from the cold and ice. It will depend on the individual dog’s cold tolerance as well as the breed and how long the dog will be outside.
Many dogs have sensitive paws and tend to lift them up once it dips below 10 degrees Fahrenheit. On the other hand, some dogs act like they don’t notice the cold on their feet at all.
How do you know when your dog might need some extra protection in the cold?
Protection from the Ice and the Snow
If dogs are outside in the bitter cold, but moving at a quick pace, they often don’t need boots, but when the temperature is closer to 30 degrees, the long-haired dogs would get clumps of wet snow stuck between their toes as it clung to their fur. This is both very annoying to them, but it can also become painful if the dog owner doesn’t stop to clear their paws before the packed snow turns to ice. For these dogs in that situation, boots are necessary.
Protection from Chemical Exposure in the Wintertime
Even when the cold isn’t extreme, dog boots will offer protection from de-icing products. Sometimes people use salt to melt the ice and snow from sidewalks, but salt is not healthy for dogs to walk on because it gets stuck in their paws and they will then lick it off. Added salt is not recommended for any dog but especially older dogs or ones with kidney problems. People will also sometimes use poisonous antifreeze to melt the ice. If your dog is wearing boots, they will be protected from these hazardous substances.
Playing Outside in the Wintertime
Dogs love to play fetch, but when they stop too quickly on rough ice and snow, they will scuff up their paws enough to make them bleed. For dogs like this, a good option would be rugged dog boots. These are designed to stay in place when a dog is running on a rough surface, and they offer protection from the elements no matter how severe the terrain.
Older Dog Recommendations
If your older dog needs some extra traction, there are dog boots that stay on for that purpose too. Of course, whenever you introduce a dog to wearing boots, do so gradually and use lots of positive reinforcement. It usually takes them some time to get used to having something on their paws.
Final Thoughts about Dog Boots
Boots should be comfortable, without rubbing against a dog’s paws, and of course they need to stay on their paws. Boots are most important for sled dogs that run long distances, dogs walking on surfaces covered with salt or ice melting chemicals, which are toxic, and dogs with hairy paws that collect snowballs.
Be prepared to try out lots of boots until you find the ones that are right for your dog’s precious paws.
If you can’t find boots that fit well, or if your dog refuses to wear them, you can take other steps to protect their paws. As soon as they gets back inside, soak their paws for a few seconds in a bowl of warm water, then dry them thoroughly. You can also trim the fur between their toes to help reduce or prevent the accumulation of ice and snow, which can cut their paws or cause them to limp. Help prevent cracked paws by applying petroleum jelly or a paw wax before your dog goes outside.